CHENNAI: Sneha, an organisation working in the area of suicide prevention, on Wednesday welcomed the Centre’s decision to decriminalise suicide bids.
Speaking to Express, Dr Lakshmi Vijayakumar, the founder of Sneha, said that the government’s decision to repeal Section 309 of the Indian Penal Code under which any person who attempts suicide would be punished, was a welcome move.
“We have been fighting for it for more than 10 years. In fact, World Health Organisation (WHO) and International Associaion for Suicide Prevention too appealed to the government through a letter in 2009. WHO’s first global report on suicide prevention, published in September last, also had a mention of it,” said Lakshmi, who is also a consultant for WHO.
Lakshmi added that so far there was no accurate data on how many had attempted suicide. “This is because people hesitate to admit the same to avoid legal action. Now, we can have accurate figures and find ways to stop them from attempting suicide,” she said.
“A drawback of Section 309 was the police case, which added to the distress of the victims. Though doctors were requested to provide immediate treatment to those who had attempted suicide, reporting it to the police was a big headache,” she pointed out.
The Union Government took the decision of making suicide no longer a criminal offence with the support of 18 States and four Union Territories, despite opposition from a few other states.